How to choose the right furniture for your living room

In How to by Casabela

Styled by Dani T

How to choose the right furniture for your living room

Whether you’re excited about decking out a new apartment, or looking to rejuvenate an existing living room, here are some helpful tips for decorating your space.

Feature image: Shepherd St Chippendale 

Lawson St, Darlington

1. Measure it up

Before you even start browsing furniture on the internet, put that laptop down and grab your tape measure! There’s no point in falling in love with an amazing piece that’s so big you’ll need to vault over it every time you need to visit the kitchen.

Make sure you’ve got accurate measurements of the dimensions of your living room; depth, width, and height as well. Record them in your phone, or somewhere else where you won’t lose them. It can be useful to draw up a floor plan (at an accurate scale if possible) and take photos so that you have a strong mental image when you go shopping at stores.

If you’re working with an empty space, you could even measure out an approximation of layout and sizes of where you want everything to go and mark it out on the floor with masking tape.
Resist any temptations to push all your furniture up against the walls. Keeping the furniture closer together brings a more intimate feeling to any gathering, meaning you won’t need to shout across the room at each other.

Don’t forget to measure your doorways and any corridors or stairs that your furniture is going to have to travel through. The stress of discovering your new sofa can’t fit through your door is a stress no-one needs.

If you’re feeling tech-savvy, there are some helpful online software that you can use to create an accurate floor plan for yourself to work from.

With the opportunity to host a dinner or party again just around the corner – yay –  What better time to put together the living room of your dreams.

Styled by Dani T
MacDonald St Erskineville

2. Start with your focal point

Some people will assume that by “focal” point, we mean “sofa”. This is sometimes the case, but depending on the architecture of your room, there may be another focal point such as a fireplace or piece of art (or even a television) that you want to build your room around.

Be clear on what your focal point is and how you want to build around it and you’ll make your job that much easier for yourself.

Styled by Dani T
Jacques St Kingsford

3. Select your seating

This is a big choice, because your sofa is going to help to define your entire space, especially if you’re in a smaller home. Being such a prominent feature of the room, the sofa can visually anchor the look you’re going for.

While choosing a sofa, there’s a lot to think about, so let’s break it down a bit.Ask yourself these questions:

What kind of room is it?
Is this a space for hanging out with the family and watching TV?
Is it for entertaining guests?
Is it for you and your partner to snuggle in for movie nights?
Answering this will already help to begin informing your decisions around size, materials, and colour.

When deciding on the shape and style, think about what makes sense in your space, and what appeals to you. Is it soft, smooth curves, or strong lines? You could have something flexible and modular, you could have a corner piece. Maybe a chaise at the end. Picture the options in your space and see how they’d fit in your floor plan.

Now, consider the colour and material too. Neutral colours are generally a flexible choice (think greys, charcoal, brown, cream, white) and give a laid back feel, while more saturated colours give a bold look that makes the piece pop.

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer here, but there is an answer! A lot of furniture stores will be able to match your preferred fabric with your favourite model of sofa. Know which fabric best suits your lifestyle. For example, if you have kids and/or pets who are going to be using the couch, leather and linen sofas with removable covers for easy washing is a good choice.

Styled by Dani T

4. Accessorise

Now that you’ve got the sofa sorted, how do you go about filling in the space?

Well, the sofa has presumably given you the beginnings of a colour palette to work from. So you can start looking at cushions in colours that fit around the colour of your couch. For example, if you have a blue couch, you might pick cushions in tans, and pale blues and greys to create a harmonious gradation of colour. Try mixing and matching shades and textures to create interest. Between three to five cushions is usually a good guideline.

As you continue to add furniture, keep coming back to your idea of what the purpose of the room is. For example, if you want to entertain a group of guests, make sure each sitting position is within easy reach of a coffee table or side table to set down a drink. You want to provide a good amount of surface space without making things crowded. For coffee tables, look for something slightly lower than the height of the sofa chair, and around half to two-thirds the length. This allows for people across the sofa to easily lean forward to use the table without having to get up. Have the coffee table sit far enough out from the edges of the seating to allow people to comfortably move between them.

Rugs are a great way to define seating areas, but make sure your furniture can comfortably fit within it. If you’re tight on space, check that at least the front legs of any large seating areas are on the rug.